WWII : The Long Road Home (2019) - full transcript

Inspired by teenage director Elliott Hasler's own great-grandfather's experiences in WWII; an escaped British POW's epic battle for survival whilst on the run in war-torn Italy, as his wife and young son anxiously await news in England.

What you throwing?

Aniseed balls.

Watch it! You might break the

You coming down?

Be there in a second.

How long's your leave for?

That's the thing,
I'm not really supposed to be here.

Can't you get in trouble for

I'm stationed out in Cuckmere, middle
of bloody nowhere, no one'll find out

it's nice there though,
when the war's over I'll take you.

That'd be nice.

What d'you think you're doing?

Coming for a swim?

Oh! It's freezing!

You coming in then, Tup?

Fat chance!

You silly bugger!


- Enjoy your time in there boy!
- Hey hey! Another Tiger!

- Hang on a minute, Standing innit?
- Yeah, that's right.

I'm sorry I can't quite remember
you're erm...

Grimes, Andrew Grimes

- What you in for?
- Oh, this and that...

how about yourself?

- Too late for a bloody training exercise.
- Oh, Army'll come down on you like a ton of bricks!

Storm in a blood tea-cup, innit?

I could do with a cup of tea
about now.

Ha, join the club!

- Did you get your transfer thingy through?
- Yeah, yeah. The wife weren't too pleased.

Can't imagine she would be!

I'm telling you, if those rich toffs
in Downing Street came to their senses,

they'd put me in old Churchill's

I'd have this entire war sorted
out in a jiffy

The way I see it, it's all about land.
Empire. This is yours and this is ours.

I mean take Poland. Why they wanted to start a
war over it, I'll never know. You been there?


Nah, neither. Let 'em have the shit-hole,
as long as we can hold on to India.

I mean starting a war over Africa I can
understand. It's cos of the oil, innit.

Yeah well we'll, err, we'll be
off there soon.

Yeah! Tell you one thing I'll miss is that
barman's daughter down the Bell and Arms.

Cor, some Yank'll have her
before I get back!

You never know, war'll be over
by Christmas.

Yeah and I'm fucking Santa Claus!
That's what they say every single time.

You know, you're too bloody
optimistic, that's your problem.

Nah, I'm a realist, you're a
pessimist, that's the difference.

Sling your hook now Standing.

I've brought you a cup of tea,

She's at her wit's end in there,

There was nothing I could do.

I know lad, I've been there
myself before.

What's it like, over there?

Just take care of yourself,
keep your head down and you'll be alright.

# Love me or leave me or let me
be lonley #

# I love you only... #

D'you wanna die, is that it?

No, no, I don't.

Then why are you going?

Everyman has to do his bit, I'm
doing it for you.

No! No you're not!

We'll get through this, I promise. Me, you
and Terry. I'm gonna come back, I know it.

You have a family.

It'll be over by Christmas, I'll
come home then.

They said that last time.
They always say that.

Your son is gonna grow up
without a father, like you did.

Let someone else go!

Well that'll just mean another boy will grow up
without a father and another wife will be a widow.

That man won't be as lucky as me.
I'm gonna come back, I promise you.

I need you here! I can't do this
by myself.

I'll do it.

Captain Thompson, reporting sir.

Thompson, yes.

Yes, sir.

I've got a new assignment for

German tanks are expected here,
and err, infantry, there.

You're to assemble a four man
squad, go in quick and quiet, and...

Damn it man, this whole bloody
thing rests on your shoulders...

in other words... don't cock it

- What he say Captain?
- We're going out on recce.


- Pull out tomorrow morning, say,
0600 hours. I need two more men.

-Oh, err, Grimes?

- He'll do. Then how about Clarke?
- This morning.

Christ! Standing, then. I'll
assemble them

outside Command, you try
and get us some transport.

Cor, bloody heat!

You should be glad it isn't raining
Standing, you big girl's blouse.

The Captain's right,
you should look on the bright side.

That's the problem,
everything's so bloody bright out here.

Haha! You're just the village
idiot, Milton.

You'd better watch it Grimes, you cocky
bastard. I'm a higher rank than you.

I just like to keep positive.

And how the hell d'you do that?

Ah it's not so hard. Optimism runs
in my family, just take me grandda..

Oh, you've gone and done it now

Christ, we're all gonna have to hear
about that bloody granddad story again.

I'll have slit me wrists before Jerry
even has the chance to take a pop at us!

Why the hell have you got that?

Bought it off an Arab for a bar
of Cadbury's.

Besides I've got it all planned
out for when we get to Germany

See I'll take this knife,
snip off Hitler's one and only

and then serve it up to old Eva
on a silver platter.

Oh! Thanks for that image.

No problem, Cap!

I've established the Hun's general course,
only thing is, it goes through a minefield.

What if they've re-mined it?

Not so bloody positive now, are

Unless Jerry sent in the bombers,
blasted a way through for his armour.

Well if we get through what
happens if we run into the Kraut?

Well that is rather the point of
our mission...

We just have to hope that someone
up there is rather fond of us.

If we do run into them, we'll
talk our way out of it.

Oh, you speak Kraut now then do

It's a work in progress.

Anyway, we should be done here

I've a bad feeling about this.

Yeah, feeling's mutual.

But if we stick to the tracks,
it will be fine, right?


Fucking ell!

Come on

Come on!

Get in! get in!




Help. Argh Charlie fuck. Help

Come on! Arrgh fuck Arrgh!

Arrgh fuck arrgh! Easy! Jesus

Arrgh fuckarrgh easy! Fucking

Fucking ell!

- Shit
- It's over mate. Arrgh

Don't shoot

We surrender

Oh shit

We've been here since Tobruk.

Old Cooper, came here weighing one hundred
and sixty pounds, now he's ninety four.

Roll-call at dawn, meals twice a day. There's
four men to a bed, but they can hold six.

Try and make your Red Cross packs last a
while, cos the food here ain't the Ritz

but, other than that
you're living the life of Riley.

We've won in Africa!

The Tigers'll be back on the
front next!

Come on!

Go on hit him you wanker! Go on!

Hit him! Go on!

Go on I've got some money on
this! Go on..

I'm tellin' you, I ain't even
touched a girl since embarkation.

Neither. To be honest,
I'm trying to stop the desire.

How about you, you got a girl
back home?

Where are they taking us?

I heard we're going up north.

Some of you will be taken
to the farms nearby,

to help work the land.
Those who will go are as follows:

Boyle, Breen, Cameron...

Dawson, Wilson, Johnson,

Italy has signed the terms of surrender
with the Allies.

Right listen up lads, there's a few words I want
to have with you before this night's out...

Now first of all, there is to be not
fraternisation with the Eyeties, is that clear?

Yes sir

Right. A few other things,

I've got sentries on the main
gate, mounted.

We've sent a party out to recce the
local area in case the Hun does turn up,

but I don't think that will

Intelligence is this: our boys
are landing in Rome and Milan

and the Navy, they should be
coming in at Genoa and Rimini...

So this is it.

By my reckoning, we have just
twenty-four hours to hold out,

and then it's our time! Good
luck boys!

# And did those feet in ancient
time #

# Walk upon England's... #

Here. You need to have a drink mate.
Take some of mine, it's strong mind...

some fella over there's been drinking it out
an enamelled mug and the enamels coming off!

Don't you get it! We have to
leave now!

Calm down mate!
Now ain't the time for quick action.

But it is! The Allies aren't
gonna come

the Krauts are coming here and
they'll ship you off to Germany!

I'm tellin' ya, let 'em come!

What I tell you, we go out
there, couple of Brits like us,

don't speak the lingo. They will
fucking shoot us!

Look, have I ever given you
reason not to trust me?

No! So listen to me now, if we get out
of here and make it back to Allied lines,

they'll send us home.
Our part in this war'll be over.

Allied lines!

You're bloody delusional!
We're better off waiting here

with food and drink,
and wait for them to come to us.

Better the devil you know.

I understand what you're saying
mate, but it ain't worth the risk

I'm sorry, but I ain't going.


Wait! Wait! Wait! I'm English!
I'm English, I'm English.

Fumar... Wait! Cigarette?

Amici. Inglese. We like... we
like Inglese.

Hey wait wait

Follow, come on. Follow. Follow.
Come on, follow.

- Buono?
- Mmm

Ci! It's better, no?

My wife, she has, err, paura.
But I think she understands.

My dearest Charlie.
I've been counting the days,

but now I'm counting the months
since your last letter.

Where are you my love?

I have nothing left to hold except the
hope that someday you'll return to me.

Charlie come back to me, come

Senior Lido, he works you hard?

I like hard work, I worked on
the trains back over in England.

What is it like in England? You
live in London?

Near London. Err, Raphael...

when do the snows come?

I'm afraid for you Charlie

when the snow comes.

The Tedeshi have come, it is not
safe here.

I'm taking you into the
mountains, there is a cave.

If the Germans come, go into the forest.
Giovanni, he will find you.

You must take this.

I must go now Charlie,

- You will be safe here.
- Thank you

You need to stop helping me, you

Charlie, it is never easy.

Charlie on the radio, it says if
we help you, the Allies, we die.

I'd never heard that, is it

And you knew! And your wife,
senior Lido, do they know!?

How did you get away?

The Germans, they came to the
mill and they took senior Lido.

- How did they know I was there!?
- Someone tell them, a facist.

What's the situation down there?

Many more have come, they fill the town.
There is terrible paura.

I'm putting you all in danger,
I should never have stayed here.

You got a light?

I don't smoke.


What happened to your arm?

Training exercise went wrong, so what's
a nice girl like you doing round here?

My son, he's sick.

Well I hope he gets better soon.
I'm Michael by the way, Michael Romero.

Where are you from, Michael?

I'm from Vancouver.

Is that in America?

No, it's Canada.

I really should be going.

But I don't even know your name.



- Hey
- I'm sorry.

Hey I know you! You're the lady
from the hospital.

You have a good memory.

Hey wait a minute! Hey! How's
your kid?

I'm on my way to get him from
school, so if you don't mind...

My arm's much better by the way.

Well it won't be for much longer if
you keep running out of buildings

- not looking where you're going.
- But you bumped into me!

Well without me to catch you,
you'd have run straight into the road.

Well it woulda been a whole
lot worse if I went into a car.

I'm not sure worse is the right

Hey, that's not fair!

- Isn't there some other girl you can bother?
- I'd rather bother you.

Well you're doing a good job.

What is it with you people?
I'm just trying to be friendly.

We're a lot smarter than you lot from across
the pond. You're not trying to be my friend.

It's true what they say about you;
over-paid, over-sexed and over-here.

Hey, I'm not overpaid!

Well I'm sure there are plenty of other
girls who'll want to be your friend.

Damn you English girls are a
hard crowd.

Damn you Canadians, you're a
persistent lot.

Well I'd like a chance to prove
myself to you. Here...

Let's call it seven o'clock,
Saturday night.

So what do I call you?

- You can call me Tup.
- What does that mean?

It's like a nickname, when I was
a girl I used to ask for tuppence

to get sweets, and it kinda

He just had this charm about

It was quite remarkable really.

Well then?

I can't go.

Why not?


- If you aren't going to go then I will.
- No!

Why not?

I just don't know.

I wish I had a Canadian Air
Force Captain,

all I've got is a bloody
telecommunications officer!

I'll tell you what, you go with him, I'll
take Terry and he can stay the night at mine.

- Alright.
- Really!

Just when I thought my luck was in!
Dad won't be too pleased though.

Ivy, how could you have done this!
Have you forgotten your husband's in Italy.

What d'you think he's doing?
Running around with Italian floozies!

He's over there fighting for
you, and your son!

What, you think it's been easy
for me these past few years.

To be left alone at home while
others fight for me.

It's been hell.

I don't know how you could be so

How could you?

She has a husband.

And what if he don't come back?

There's been no news for weeks now and his
father never came back in the first war.

No, but I did.

I know what men go through over

What I've seen and done, just
remember that.

My dearest wife. This letter will probably never
get to you, but it brings me comfort to write it.

I'm alive and well and living
in the safety of a convent.

What is this world in which we find ourselves.
How can men unleash such evil upon one another.

War doesn't make heroes out us,
it turns us into animals.

Sometimes I feel this war has changed me so much,
I won't be the same man when I return to you.

But that hope, the hope that one day I'll
return is the only thing that keeps me going.

All my love, your Charlie.

Along every road in
endless procession, refugees stream

toward collecting stations set up
by the Allied military government.

Many helpless families, made homeless
by the German seizure of their country,

were forced north during the
Nazi retreat.

Stripped of most of their possessions,
only a few were adequately clothed

or fed until the Allied Fifth
Army landed.

Moving these helpless people from
the ruins of their shattered homes,

is one of the great rescue
achievements of the war.

The real tragedy is the plight
of the very young,

the world into which they were born has
been a world of suffering and sorrow.

Now the Allied authorities
open the way to a new haven...

a haven where they may wait in
safety for the day of peace...

I'm sorry, I can't.

as swiftly as possible, Army trucks
take them to ports of embarkation...

Hey buddy, d'you see a
girl in a black and white dress?

Just came outta here?

Nah, sorry mate, she took off.

- American?
- English.

You're lucky I'm with the

No thank you.

The facists killed my family.

I'm trying to get back to mine.

Il facisti, mille duo cento lire
is the price for you.

That's a lot of money.

- Do you know the song?
- What song?

I will not give you to the facists...
I'm a deserter.

Oh really?

Ci... the mountain is full of
young men.

The facists are too scared of your
English and Americano... to catch you.

I bet they'll be the first to wave their flags
when our boys march through in the end.

Okay, but first we have to kill the
Germans... I'm going south to find a bande.

These are good.

Yeah well, Italian peaches are the
best, like women!

You know il culo.

It's too dangerous for a


Mama, can I go down there?

Terry, come here.

I wanna play more.

No Daddys going to be here soon

Can I have my shoes back?

No, they need to be clean for
Daddy. Come on!

Hey Grimes! Grimes!

Hey. So err, when did you get

- Transport got in two weeks ago.
- Well it's good to see you.

What, erm, what happened after I

Jerry came a couple days later,
like you said they would...

put us in trains and sent us to
Stalags in Germany.

the cold... Italy was fucking

- How are the lads?
- Dickie...

he didn't make it.

He drowned trying to escape...
They brought the body back.

Four days and nights on that
train, packed like cattle.

It wasn't until February when the
Allies came, they sent us home.

Well it'll be over soon... once
we beat the Japs.

- I've just been de-mobbed.
- So what you gonna do now?

Well the worst is over...

Things are gonna get better here on out.
That's what I think anyway.

- I'm heading down to Bristol.
- Nice. So, erm, you got family down there?

No, I err... I just need to get
away for a bit.

I can't take being called a

What I've seen, done! How can I
be proud of that?

It's so fucked up...

Sometimes... Sometimes I wish I was
the one who got stuck in that Jeep.

- I really do.
- Are you alright mate?

Yeah, yeah. Never been better.
I'd err, I'd best be off.

Well if you're, erm, ever down Sussex
way, then feel free to drop by.

- Sounds good.
- Yeah. It's good to see you.

My dearest wife. It won't be long now when I
shall be able to see you both every night.

All I hope my darling, is that you
won't get too used to seeing me

and that we start living
like other married couples

just taking things for granted. When we
get our own home, we should be happy.

And if you want your little girl by
then, then all you have to do is ask me.

I suppose you still do want her?

Well this is about all I can
write tonight, so if

I get a letter from you tomorrow
I will write again too.

All my love darling. Charlie

P.S. kiss Terry for me, tell him I got his letter and
that I hope he comes to meet me again on Saturday.